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Fancypants Literary Moment

Two quotes from Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima. Both manage to nail down things I’ve been trying to properly articulate for years:

I do not mean that I viewed those desires of mine that deviated from accepted standards as normal and orthodox; nor do I mean that I labored under the mistaken impression that my friends possessed the same desires. Surprisingly enough, I was so engrossed in tales of romance that I devoted all my elegant dreams to thoughts of love between man and maid, and to marriage, exactly as though I were a young girl who knew nothing of the world. I tossed my love for Omi onto the rubbish heap of neglected riddles, never once searching deeply for its meaning. Now when I write the word love, when I write affection, my meaning is totally different from my understanding of the words at that time. I never even dreamed that such desirtes as I had felt toward Omi might have a significant connection with the realities of my "life."


When a boy of fourteen or fifteen discovers that he is more given to introspection and consciousness of self than other boys his age, he easily falls into the error of believing it is because he is more mature than they. This was certainly a mistake in my case. Rather it was because the other boys had no such need of understanding themselves as I had: they could be their natural selves, whereas I was to play a part, a fact that would require considerable understanding and study. So it was not my maturity but my sense of uneasiness, my uncertainty, that was forcing me to gain control over my consciousness. Because such consciousness was simply a steppingstone to aberration, and my present thinking was nothing but uncertain and haphazard guesswork.

Those two paragraphs (among others — it's a wonderful book) neatly sum up the sense of what I was looking for in all the crappy "gay coming of age" books I read when I was younger and struggling to find some kind of sympathetic voice. I can't tell you how much I have come to loathe most of the ones I read. Not only were lots of them soooo poorly written and apparently published just out of a hunger for frank gay content, but they never quite caught the sense of my experience, which I was looking to put into words with such desperation.

Oh well, better late than never. I suppose It's good that I worked so much of it out on my own, rather than when I was prone to convincing myself that other people's insights were my own.

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